These Gun Rights Activists Say NRA Is Weak On 2nd Amendment : No Compromise One of the same far-right groups behind this spring's anti-quarantine protests also plays a big role in a burgeoning "No Compromise" gun rights movement. Its members see the NRA as too amenable to gun control measures. Two reporters begin their journey to understand the Dorr Brothers and their followers.
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A World Where The NRA Is Soft On Guns

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A World Where The NRA Is Soft On Guns

A World Where The NRA Is Soft On Guns

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(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHRIS DORR: See that? Oh, how wonderful. Wonderful. Defiance of tyranny is so alive and well in the great Keystone State.

LISA HAGEN, HOST:

Harrisburg, Pa. - it's late April, and thousands of people are protesting outside the state capital. Coronavirus has been disrupting American life and killing people for almost two months. The governor here has ordered Pennsylvanians to stay home. Businesses are closed. Hospitals are packed. But Americans are stubborn people.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

C DORR: To all the haters who are watching the page right now, I hope this display of American love for freedom triggers all of you.

CHRIS HAXEL, HOST:

What you're hearing is video posted on Facebook. This guy, Chris Dorr, started a Facebook page called Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine, and 60,000 people joined almost instantly.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

C DORR: Folks, this whole Facebook page was started in order to get people to start fighting back against these tyrannical moves that Governor Wolf has been foisting upon the people of Pennsylvania. And I got to tell you I was at the Ohio...

HAGEN: Now, Chris Dorr doesn't actually live in Pennsylvania. He just started a Facebook page there. And it's not the only one. He also launched Ohioans Against Excessive Quarantine.

HAXEL: Two of his brothers are in on it, too. They started Reopen Minnesota and Wisconsinites Against Excessive Quarantine. In just a couple weeks, each Facebook group had tens of thousands of followers spawning state rallies of their very own.

HAGEN: It didn't take long for reporters to start noticing this family, the Dorrs.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

C DORR: Over the last 72 hours, we have been attacked by The Washington Post...

AARON DORR: Washington compost.

C DORR: ...Time magazine. Well, who else was on there?

A DORR: Al Jazeera, the Daily U.K. Mail, The Sun out of England. CNN tried to...

HAGEN: Days after the Pennsylvania rally, the brothers post another video, this time with some buddies.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

C DORR: You know what? That's what happens when you stand up against left-wing media. That's what happens when you stand up against tyrannical governments.

HAGEN: Picture a Zoom meeting - five men in squares, all in front of webcams. They've got near-identical banners behind them, a grainy image of someone aiming a tactical rifle.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

C DORR: Governments and media never ever, ever give back your rights without an absolute bloodbath fight. And that's what we're facing here, guys.

A DORR: It's been incredible. It's been incredible.

HAXEL: These aren't just random guys who don't like the government telling them what to do. These are seasoned gun rights activists.

HAGEN: You might be thinking, what could the Second Amendment possibly have to do with a pandemic? And you wouldn't be the only one.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A DORR: I know how many times in the last couple days I've been asked by media outlets, well, don't you guys do guns? Like, what's your big deal on this coronavirus issue? Why don't you stay in your lane?

C DORR: We do freedom.

A DORR: Stay in your lane.

BEN DORR: Stay in your lane, man.

A DORR: And I have had so much enjoyment telling media outlets all across the country that our lane is freedom. Just don't give a dang.

HAXEL: That's Aaron Dorr, Chris' brother. All this media scrutiny actually marks a triumph for them. In their eyes, fake news coming for you is a badge of honor.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

C DORR: President Trump was tweeting about it just before it got started.

HAXEL: The story of Americans protesting public health orders made headlines all over the world.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: (Non-English language spoken).

HAGEN: The reports read like there was some kind of network of conservative activists secretly engineering what looked like organic grassroots protests. And the brothers were having a great time with that idea.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A DORR: I told that idiot reporter - they're like, so are - is this - we saw that the Facebook group grew very quickly, seemingly overnight. Are you guys being financed by the Koch brothers? I said, oh, no. No. No, no. You must have me mistaken. We're not the Koch brothers. All of America is Dorr brothers right now.

B DORR: Dorr brothers.

A DORR: We're all Dorr brothers. And, my goodness, we just want to get this country back.

HAGEN: The Dorr brothers - Aaron, Ben and Chris. For them, the pandemic is an opportunity - so many Americans looking for a way to channel their feelings of helplessness into outrage, the Dorr family's specialty.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FEAR ME (FOR I AM HUGE AND MADE OF METAL)")

HUMPMUSCLE: (Singing) Fear me, for I am huge and made of metal, yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A DORR: It's their big, fat chance to massively expand government's footprint and chokehold on American freedom, and they're coming unglued right now.

HAGEN: Ordinarily, state-level gun rights groups can seem like small potatoes compared to the National Rifle Association, which most people think of as the gun lobby.

HAXEL: But the truth is there is a rift in the gun world, and it's growing. So we wanted to know why. When did so many gun owners start thinking the National Rifle Association is soft on guns, that NRA stands for negotiating rights away?

HAGEN: These brothers are just one faction in a whole anti-NRA movement, but they get a lot of people talking. And the more we heard, the more we realized the story of the Dorrs might help explain what's changing about gun culture and America. I'm Lisa Hagen.

HAXEL: And I'm Chris Haxel. You're listening to NO COMPROMISE, an NPR investigative series. This is the story of one family on a mission to reconstruct America using two powerful tools, guns and Facebook.

HAGEN: But gun culture is just the beginning of what they want to change. Because what we learned by following the Dorrs is that American gun politics isn't what you think, whether you love guns or want nothing to do with them.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HAXEL: To understand the Dorrs, we got to go back in time, before lockdowns, before the pandemic hit. Way back in January 2020, the Dorr brothers were part of another protest.

(CROSSTALK)

HAXEL: That's when they and about 20,000 other gun owners descended on the old capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, Va. Lisa was there, too, with a photographer.

HAGEN: OK, we're here. My recorder does not work for some reason, which is very exciting. It might be the cold. I'm warming it up in my jacket right now.

I never did get it to work. I just ended up using my phone to record.

So it's 6:30 in the morning. The streets around the state capital are already slammed. These people are here to rally for gun rights, and a lot of them have brought along the firearms they aim to protect, like this guy with an AR-15 and a 60-round drum of ammunition. He's passing out flyers. Oh, look at this. A giant flag of a...

DAVID TREIBS: Want some literature on the flag?

HAGEN: Sure, yeah. Thank you. Can you tell me about it as well? I'm a reporter.

TREIBS: Sure. Yeah, that's the come and take it flag. It's based on the October 2, 1835 flag that was flown in Gonzales, Texas.

HAGEN: We're next to an enormous white flag. Up top, a black star, then a rifle - a Barrett .50 cal. And at the bottom, a message in all caps reads, COME AND TAKE IT.

Well, I'm impressed with you being able to recite history this early in the morning, to be honest.

TREIBS: Well, I can hardly talk it's so cold.

HAGEN: I know. What's your name?

TREIBS: David.

HAGEN: David - last name?

TREIBS: Treibs - T-R-E-I-B-S.

HAGEN: OK.

He's here from Texas.

TREIBS: And we came here to stand with the people of Virginia to defend the Second Amendment and to let the governor know when the Constitution says shall not be infringed, that's what it says, and that's what we're going to defend.

HAXEL: You see, this huge gathering is happening in Virginia because Democrats just flipped the state Legislature from red to blue. The election was months after a gunman killed 12 people in Virginia Beach. The Democrats campaigned hard on gun control.

HAGEN: And they won big, took the statehouse for the first time in a generation. Right away, the Democrats and Governor Ralph Northam proposed sweeping gun regulations.

TREIBS: The governor doesn't care about the Constitution of the United States. He doesn't care about the rights of people.

HAXEL: Interpreting the Second Amendment, ambiguous commas and all, is what gun politics is all about. So let's read it. A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. And it's that last part that's the real sticking point.

HAGEN: Tell me what shall not be infringed means to you.

TREIBS: That means that the government has no authority to restrict the keeping and bearing of arms. I mean, that's what the Second Amendment says - that...

HAGEN: Whatsoever - is that where you're coming from?

TREIBS: Yes, it is.

HAGEN: Like, are all gun laws unconstitutional?

TREIBS: Yeah, I would say that. I would say that.

HAXEL: That right there - it's the heart of what we're going to call the no compromise philosophy. Both this guy and the Dorr brothers are part of a gun movement that's fundamentally distrustful of centralized government. And some NRA members might agree. But a big part of this fracture in the gun world comes down to the fact that plenty of gun folks take a softer line.

HAGEN: So my father - career Marine Corps. He loves guns. He's been a conservative his entire life, without a doubt. And he recently has started saying, I don't see - you know, he doesn't like ARs. He would be concerned about seeing that gun on you. Do you have any response to him?

TREIBS: You have to go back to what the Second Amendment is about. It's not about duck hunting. It is about the people being armed well enough with good enough weapons with the same weapons the military has to stop the government. That's what it's all about.

HAXEL: This is the same kind of thing you hear from the Dorrs.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

C DORR: At the end of the day, gun rights is not about hunting. It's not about sport shooting. It's about a response to tyrannical government.

HAGEN: Treibs tells me he's been writing about gun rights since high school. He's got it all laid out on a couple websites.

TREIBS: I have comeandtakeit.com, which has basically this stuff in it. And I also have another one called godandguncontrol.com, which covers what - the Bible perspective on weapons and stuff.

HAGEN: So what is it with the Bible and guns?

TREIBS: Basically, you look at the Bible. The Bible is the one who gave us life. Life - human life is made in the image of God. And life is sacred, and there are only certain instances when we are allowed to take human life - self-defense, capital punishment, a just war, things like that. And to preserve life, God has given us the right and the duty to defend ourselves, our families, other human beings and use deadly force to do that.

HAGEN: Hold on a second. This is important what you're saying. Feel like these buses are never going to stop coming, though.

TREIBS: And for whatever reason...

HAGEN: As I'm talking to David, busloads of rally-goers are rolling in and emptying into the street. This is a big moment for the gun rights world. And on this day in January, the thousands of gun owners in this crowd aren't here because of the NRA. In fact, rather than supporting this rally, the country's richest and best-known gun rights organization kept its distance. The NRA held its own separate event a week before, and only a few hundred people came.

TREIBS: The NRA has a long history of compromise. And I have to credit them. They did a lot to spread a lot of good pro-gun information. But when it comes to actual action and, you know, like, favoring or disfavoring legislation or politicians, they have a long history of compromising. I mean...

HAGEN: What does that mean - compromise - in this case?

TREIBS: Allowing the Second Amendment to be infringed, the right to keep and bear arms.

HAXEL: Like he says, the NRA has done a lot over the years to fight gun regulation, to boost gun ownership and sales. But it's been around a long time - since just after the Civil War. And Treibs is talking about all the moments in that long and winding existence, all the moments the NRA allowed any form of gun regulation to pass into law. There are a bunch of them. Washington restricted machine guns in 1934, made rules about moving guns across state lines in 1968. The Brady Bill in 1993 brought us the background check system. That's gun regulation after gun regulation. And, sure, in many cases, the NRA did what it could to shape those laws to benefit gun owners. But for folks like David, any negotiating with lawmakers - that there is a compromise.

HAGEN: Plus, when it comes to the NRA these days...

TREIBS: And I guess you probably heard about the problems they were having with the funding and the spending...

HAGEN: Yeah.

TREIBS: ...And stuff. Yeah. And, you know, that's so disappointing.

HAXEL: The NRA hasn't been doing so hot lately. New York's attorney general wants to dissolve the organization. They've been taking flak from all over the political spectrum. This is Fox News host Steve Hilton.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE NEXT REVOLUTION")

STEVE HILTON: The NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre is tonight's Swamp Watch. According to leaked internal documents, LaPierre spent over $270,000 of your money on clothing.

HAXEL: The Dorr brothers love making fun of Wayne's wardrobe.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE NEXT REVOLUTION")

HILTON: For years, Wayne LaPierre has taken NRA members' money to live the life of a king. But he's not a king. He's the head of a nonprofit trusted by millions to use its funds to secure constitutional rights. Wayne LaPierre is an odious little grifter, and it's time for him to go.

HAXEL: Pretty much everyone in this crowd in Richmond - they would know this stuff. We're in a period of introspection for a lot of longtime supporters of the NRA. It's not just cable news talking about this. The gun world has a lot of influencers on YouTube like this guy with 5 million subscribers.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GREG KINMAN: Hickok45 here. We wanted to let you all know because in light of recent events, so much has gone on with the NRA. It's kind of gotten to the point where it's the last straw. We decided that we are just no longer going to be working in an official capacity with the NRA, and I'm asking you all to join.

HAXEL: Iraqveteran8888 and the Military Arms Channel each have a million-plus subscribers. They're even more emphatic.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: So, see; it's all a racket. There's no intention to further the Second Amendment. There's only the intention to maintain status quo and keep getting them dollars in. That's all they want.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: It is not effective in its current state. It is completely broken, and it exists solely to make Wayne and Chris Cox and a few others filthy rich and drunk on power.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Yep.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: That's all it exists for.

HAGEN: Like a lot of people at the rally, David tells me he's supported gun rights all his life. But this moment in Virginia - he's never seen anything like it.

TREIBS: It's exciting. It's about time that the gun owners finally said, this is it. We're not backing down anymore, and we're going to speak up. It's about time. It's been a long time coming. You know, I remembered another issue - when the Branch Davidians were surrounded.

HAGEN: The Branch Davidians - suddenly, he's talking about the Waco siege in 1993, when federal agents laid siege to a religious compound in Texas. After 51 days, the feds moved in, and fires broke out.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BONNIE ANDERSON: Well, as you can see, the parts of the building have collapsed. The fire has indeed engulfed the vast majority of this compound that has been the site...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: Bonnie, the entire roof is gone.

ANDERSON: The entire roof is gone, Mike. What else can you tell us?

HAGEN: Seventy-six people died, including lots of women and children. The whole thing unfolded on live TV. This guy David - he says he was there, but he and some other people wanted to rescue the group from the feds.

TREIBS: A number of us in Texas - we were going to go rescue them. I mean, that sounds funny. We were going to have thousands of people come and just walk up there and walk them out. We were going to do that, but just a couple hundred people showed up. I mean, you can't do anything with that.

HAGEN: We're talking about an incident that helped inspire the Oklahoma City bomber.

So I don't want to be, you know, offensive, but you were talking about how interested you were in the Waco standoff. Am I wrong that Timothy McVeigh was also pretty interested?

TREIBS: He was. He was up there.

HAGEN: He was, like, right there, right?

TREIBS: I might have actually seen him. I just - you know, I didn't know who he was, but...

HAGEN: So, I mean, that's another question of - there is something potentially about this movement, about saying - about being really...

TREIBS: You are.

HAGEN: ...Concerned...

TREIBS: You are.

HAGEN: About the government, right?

TREIBS: And when you're talking about, we're concerned about the government; we're armed to the teeth; you're not going to take our weapons, you have to have a certain degree of restraint. So some people may be more inclined to pop off too soon.

HAGEN: Too soon?

TREIBS: That's right.

HAGEN: As in there is a right time...

TREIBS: There is a time.

HAGEN: ...For popping off.

TREIBS: That's right.

HAGEN: OK.

TREIBS: There has to be.

HAGEN: What's that time?

TREIBS: Well, that's a good question, and I've thought about it.

HAGEN: The Democrats, he tells me, along with the deep state, are trying to overthrow President Trump. He says they're the ones who are planning violence against American gun owners.

TREIBS: What they're going to do - they're going to use deadly force to overthrow the Constitution. That's the way I see it. And, see; what the other side likes to do - well, y'all are terrorists. No, you're the ones initiating the violence. We're just going to stop you. That's it.

HAGEN: Are you concerned that we're close to that point?

TREIBS: Yes. I think - I'll be honest with you. I think that violence is inevitable.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST AMBIENCE)

HAGEN: The streets and the park were absolutely packed, but you could see David's flag from almost everywhere in the crowd. The thing was about 18 feet high - like a magnet. All day, people lined up, took a pamphlet and waited for a come-and-take-it photo shoot. It was like a featured attraction at this Second Amendment carnival.

ALEX JONES: This is the heart of 1776 right here.

HAXEL: Alex Jones rode into town in an armored truck - the InfoWars battle tank, as he calls it.

JONES: And if you try to take our firearms, 1776 will commence again, you baby-killing ghoul, you piece of shit.

HAXEL: Tons of people are walking around the rally with their phones, streaming live to friends and followers across the country, like MAGA activist Dianna Ploss.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DIANNA PLOSS: There aren't a lot of women here, so we need more women. We need more women. Ladies, I'm talking to you right now.

HAGEN: And if you know what you're looking for, you just might be able to track down a Dorr brother livestreaming about the fake news media.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A DORR: One thing there is no shortage of here, folks, is the gun control crowd's favorite friends, the media. They're in it for an agenda. The agenda is not for you. It's for themselves, as our president once said.

HAGEN: I knew I wanted to talk to the Dorrs, but as a reporter, I wasn't exactly expecting them to be friendly.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Chanting) USA. USA. USA. USA.

HAGEN: Now's probably my time - just nervous. Looks like he's setting up a mic for something.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: Huh (ph)?

HAGEN: Nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: Just count to 10.

HAGEN: I'm just talking to myself. One, two - why?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: You go on 10.

HAGEN: Oh. One, two, three, four, five...

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HAGEN: Excuse me. Can I ask who you are broadcasting to?

A DORR: Missouri Firearms Coalition.

HAGEN: Oh, cool. I'm - my name's Lisa. I'm with public radio in Georgia. How's it going?

A DORR: Good. Good.

HAGEN: So you're from Missouri?

A DORR: Yeah, we work for the Missouri Firearms Coalition. I'm from Iowa but work - and work in Iowa and Missouri as well. And we're here on behalf of our members in both states.

HAGEN: This is Aaron Dorr. I ask him about running a state gun rights group.

A DORR: Yeah, we're a lot more aggressive. We're not - we don't care about being liked. We don't care about being loved by politicians. We don't care at all. You're going to vote the right way, or you're going to get kicked out of office. That's the way it works for us.

HAGEN: Aaron tells me, gun control doesn't work because criminals don't obey laws.

A DORR: ...Always been that way. That's why the background checks are a joke. You know, magazine limits are a joke. It only affects law-abiding citizens. That's not going to stop - it's not going to stop any criminals.

HAGEN: So you don't like these ideas because you think they don't work or because they're...

A DORR: Oh, no. We have an absolute - a divine right from God and enshrined in our Constitution to keep and bear firearms. It's an inherent right that we have as people to keep and bear arms.

HAXEL: He's saying the right to bear arms doesn't come from the Constitution, it comes from God. The Constitution is just where that right is transcribed.

HAGEN: Aaron's a busy guy today. He gives me about 10 minutes, and he's looking ready to wrap it up.

Great. Do you mind if my photographer takes a picture of you since...

A DORR: No, that's fine. Go ahead.

HAGEN: ...I talked to you? Great. Thank you.

He poses for the camera.

A DORR: There's a big group in Georgia, Georgia Gun Owners. We're hoping to go live on their page here in a little bit.

HAGEN: Oh, that's cool.

A DORR: So yeah, the conspiracy runs deep...

HAGEN: (Laughter).

And then he does this weird thing.

A DORR: He's in Georgia. I'm in Iowa and Missouri. And we're just good friends. There's a lot of gun guys like that. Are you still live right now?

HAGEN: Yeah, I'm recording. I mean, I usually don't throw this in (ph).

A DORR: Just kill this part. I'm off the record right now.

HAGEN: Oh, why is that, though?

A DORR: I just - I thought we were off record back there. So yeah, he's a - that's a good...

HAGEN: We were just chatting about him doing a video for their other group, Georgia Gun Owners, when, out of nowhere, he tells me that part of the conversation is off the record.

HAXEL: As someone who speaks to reporters a lot, he knows - that's now off the record works.

HAGEN: And why does it matter? He's posting videos all over the Internet today.

HAXEL: Well, it's part of a juggling act. See; as Lisa is weaving her way through thousands of people on the ground...

HAGEN: Pardon me. Excuse Me.

HAXEL: ...I'm back home in Missouri, sifting through all of the live videos, helping Lisa stay oriented and keeping tabs on the Dorr brothers 'cause there's a lot going on there.

HAGEN: Aaron Dorr, as we know, is streaming to people in Georgia.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A DORR: And I'm here doing a video right now for Patrick with Georgia Gun Owners. Guys, we're live here on behalf of GGO in the capitol - at the capitol right now in Richmond.

HAXEL: But it's not just Georgia. I have three screens going, so I can also see him, just minutes later, talking to people in Iowa...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A DORR: Good morning, folks. Aaron Dorr here with Iowa Gun Owners. We are live at the capitol in Richmond right now.

HAXEL: ...And then Missouri...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A DORR: Hey, guys. Aaron Dorr, policy adviser with the Missouri Firearms Coalition. Guys, we have had a very hard time...

HAXEL: ...And then Idaho, the gem state.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A DORR: Hey, guys. This is Aaron Dorr here doing a video for Greg Pruett with the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance. We're live here right now.

HAXEL: His big message of the day is a threat. Today it may be Virginia that's turning blue. But tomorrow, they're coming for you.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A DORR: And if they can pass radical gun control in Virginia, it's going to happen in other states.

HAXEL: Aaron is the oldest Dorr brother. He's kind of the ringleader.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

B DORR: Folks, if you don't ever want this to happen in our beloved state of Ohio...

C DORR: We're from Minnesota, but this applies everywhere. This applies everywhere.

HAGEN: Those are Aaron's brothers, Ben and Chris.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

C DORR: There's my brother Ben, who runs...

B DORR: What do you got?

C DORR: ...Minnesota Gun Rights. You got 960.

B DORR: Oh, 1,400 - we're winning.

C DORR: Minnesota's beating us.

HAXEL: Here they are comparing how many people are livestreaming each of their feeds.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

B DORR: There's Chris.

C DORR: Ohio's probably all working this morning.

B DORR: Well, that's all right.

C DORR: That's what's going on.

B DORR: That's all right. It's like half of Ohio is right here in front of you.

C DORR: Yeah.

A DORR: Yeah.

B DORR: Yeah.

C DORR: Yeah.

HAXEL: After Aaron started the first group, Iowa Gun Owners, his brothers joined in, along with a couple friends, Patrick Parsons and Greg Pruett. These five guys now run operations in about a dozen states. And they are always hustling to keep those audiences interested and donating.

HAGEN: Which is why they're here in Richmond. Now, do the Dorrs themselves have anything to do with organizing this rally? No. But remember; all eyes are on Virginia today.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HAXEL: Thousands of people are watching live. It's a pro-gun bonanza that the brothers can turn into a flood of content for weeks - videos, articles, memes, many of them identical and posted simultaneously across their network of Facebook pages - which is great if you're pro-gun and stuck at home. See; if you care about this rally, you could watch CNN.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JIM SCIUTTO: Ahead of today's demonstration, the governor declared a state of emergency and banned all weapons on capitol grounds. But outside that secured area, many demonstrators were heavily armed. Look at them. They look like soldiers there, some wearing body armor. And there are fears there could be violence, particularly from white extremists. Last week, the FBI arrested three alleged white supremacists who planned to attend today's rally.

HAXEL: Or you can skip the media and watch Facebook.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A DORR: Beautiful patriots - look at them. This is what keeps governments at bay, what keeps tyrants at bay. It's what keeps criminals at bay right here. We love it.

HAXEL: A guided tour from people you trust for five minutes or five hours.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A DORR: You've got the fake news media, helicopters and stuff flying around. They'll probably do here today what they do at Trump rallies.

C DORR: Yeah, hundreds of people showed up (laughter).

A DORR: Yeah, hundreds of people. And then they'll show some video clips from, you know, 4:30 this morning.

C DORR: Right. Or 4:30 this afternoon...

A DORR: Or 4:30 this afternoon...

C DORR: ...When everybody's leaving.

A DORR: ...When nobody's here.

HAXEL: Now, if you're a Missourian watching, say, the Missouri Firearms Coalition page, you think, look at our hometown guy on the ground. Aaron's giving me a tailored virtual experience.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A DORR: We know how crazy they are right now in Jeff City. We know how insane guys like Peter Meredith are, all the rest of these people in the Capitol - the Jill Schupps, these radical nut job socialist idiots who want to disarm us.

HAXEL: But he does that for Iowans, too.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A DORR: If they ever had the votes to do it in Iowa, they would do it. They would do it. And that's the lesson here today.

HAXEL: It makes me think of a traveling salesman who's got girlfriends scattered across all the states in his circuit.

(SOUNDBITE OF LUDACRIS SONG, "AREA CODES")

HAXEL: If you're smart, you make each one feel special.

HAGEN: All those area codes.

(SOUNDBITE OF LUDACRIS SONG, "AREA CODES")

HAGEN: 770, 404, 208, 614.

(LAUGHTER)

HAXEL: Now, the Dorr brothers and their friends aren't the only gun rights group with this no-compromise philosophy. We found active organizations in 36 states. Some are independent. Others are part of Dorr-style networks.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: Sign up right now for frontline defender program. You'll be automatically entered to win this giveaway.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6: Or donate to this case. You can do so with the link on the screen.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #7: If you do the $10 a month program, after the third month you get a unique hat. You can't just buy this hat, right? You have to be a liberty member to get the hat.

HAGEN: Usually, memberships aren't expensive. With the Dorrs, the liberty level is $35 a year, or you can go for patriot level, which is $125. They all come with swag.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

C DORR: Made in the U.S.A. - one size fits all. Read it and weep, China, and stick it where the sun don't shine.

HAXEL: Some groups bring in more donations than others. But remember; none of what we're talking about is being led by the NRA. These are no-compromise activists, and that's what got our attention about the Dorrs and their crew.

HAGEN: In Georgia, their nonprofit brings in three times the donations of a competing gun rights group, one that's older and better-established. And that ended up being the case almost everywhere we looked. Over the years, we're talking millions of dollars.

HAXEL: So, of course, we wanted to know, where's all that money going? Who are the people supporting the brothers Dorr? Do their no-compromise tactics really work? And the more answers we got...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #8: I'm as red (laughter) as the blood in my veins. I am so diehard Republican that anybody would even question that is hysterical to me and everybody that knows me.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #9: I have never questioned Aaron's integrity or his sincere desire to fight for the Second Amendment.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #10: The way that they go about things, it's not to actually have a structured, civilized government. They don't want any government.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #11: I think it's a call to action for people to use violence. There really is no other conclusion you can come to.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #12: They're very in-your-face and offensive. And by God, I love them for it (laughter). It's what you got to do. You don't go into a war zone with Nerf guns and pillows.

HAGEN: Well, the more answers we got, the more we realized this isn't just a story about guns. It's more like, welcome to your future.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HAXEL: Next time on NO COMPROMISE, we meet some of the Dorr's followers, and we learn how the brothers built a Facebook powerhouse by preaching the good word of guns.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #13: Take it slow, man.

HAGEN: NO COMPROMISE is us, Lisa Hagen and Chris Haxel. The show is produced by Graham Smith and edited by Robert Little of NPR's investigations unit. Josh Rogosin and Stephen Key are our sound engineers. Sound design by Josh and Graham. Our music comes from Peter Duchesne, Brad Honeyman (ph) and The Humpmuscle Rolling Circus.

HAXEL: Thanks to Neal Carruth and Anya Grundmann from NPR programming and our legal team, Steven Zansberg and Micah Ratner. Special thanks to N'Jeri Eaton and the folks at Story Lab - Michael May, Alex Goldmark, Bruce Auster and Cheryl W. Thompson - also to A.C. Valdez and our colleagues at the Guns & America reporting collaborative. NO COMPROMISE is a production of NPR working in partnership with WABE in Atlanta, KCUR in Kansas City and WAMU in Washington, D.C.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HUMPMUSCLE: (Singing) The dogs began barking, and the hounds did howl. The dogs began barking, and the hounds - and the hounds - look out, sugar mama. The little red rooster's on the prowl (ph).

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